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The Manor of Blankfronts

The Blankfront family coat of arms
The Blankfront family coat of arms

Volume III of The Victoria County History published in 1912 gives the history of the manors in Potsgrove. Blankfront Manor was held of the Lord of the Manor of Potsgrove as overlord until at least 1428, the last mention of this arrangement. The manor was named after Henry and William Blankfront who held an estate in Potsgrove in the 13th century, the family is last mentioned in 1346.

The Woburn Abbey coat of arms
The Woburn Abbey coat of arms

In 1392 the manor was held by John Chastellon and Margaret, his wife. Presumably one or the other of them was a descendant of the Blankfront family. In 1415 Chastellon granted the manor to John Goldington of Lidlington who then granted it, in the same year, to Woburn Abbey.

The Duncombe family coat of arms
The Duncombe family coat of arms

Woburn Abbey was dissolved in 1538 and the manor was granted by King Edward VI (1547-1553) to Edward Fiennes, Lord Clynton and Saye in exchange for other lands he gave to the Crown. Lord Clynton granted the manor to William Saunders who died in 1559. The following year Saunders’ son died and his heir was his sister Ellen, who married a Duncombe and that family held the manor until 1706 when it was sold to Allen, Lord Bathurst who in turn sold it to Sir Gregory Page, a director of the East India Company, in 1724.

The coat of arms of the Dukes of Bedford
The coat of arms of the Dukes of Bedford

In 1884 the Duke of Bedford purchased Blankfront Manor from the trustees of Sir Gregory Page-Turner. A succession of Law of Property Acts in the 1920s extinguished all manorial incidents, courts and copyhold tenure of land. This effectively abolished manors in all but name.